Posts Tagged ‘Withdean Stadium’

I missed all the fun

April 28, 2011

I’ve just got back home from an extended spell working abroad, and I’ve missed everything! I found out about winning the league by text and two days after the fact. Nevermind, I’m here for the last ever game at Withdean (mixed emotions there to be honest, the Albion have had some great seasons in BN1, especially this one), and away to Notts County.

Lots of catching up to do, and I cannot WAIT until next season. Life couldn’t be better, good wishes and congratulations to you all (especially you G).

Albion 4 – 0 Plymouth

February 22, 2011

"Cheer up Peter Reid"

A workmanlike performance tonight, nothing flash or owt, against a Plymouth Argyle team with more on their minds than a Tuesday night match at Withdean. The most important thing is that there’s clear blue daylight between us and Bournemuff again.

I feel sorry for Argyle, there’s a lot of clubs I dislike more than the boys from the western scrag-end of Britain. The usually agitated and interested Peter Reid was nowhere to be seen, never putting his head out of the away dugout, who would envy his job now? Not me.

As for the game, 4-0 maybe flattered us a tad, Plymouth worked hard in the second half to close down our back four’s tip-tapping, and it nearly paid off for them. But even the most diehard Albionite would say our goals were not spectacular, like I said – workmanlike. That said  we did well, and a few players caught the eye. Liam Bridcutt is in great form at present, as is Marcos Painter. Wood got a soft goal and made way for the lively Noone in the second period. Fran Sandaza’s supersub goal was good value too, but man of the match was two-goal Glenn Murray, another masterclass of holding up play and clinical finishing from the big man.

So, not a great game regardless of the final score, but most Albion fans will feel sorry for Argyle, I hope they stay up, but it doesn’t look good.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 8 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Glenn Murray

Attendance: 7261 (254 Plymouth)

Npower League One table
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 21:59 UK
    P GD PTS
1 Brighton 29 34 59
2 Bournemouth 32 22 55

3 Huddersfield 31 15 52
4 Peterborough 31 7 50
5 Southampton 29 23 49
6 MK Dons 33 -2 49

7 Charlton 29 6 47
8 Oldham 32 4 46
9 Colchester 31 -1 45
10 Rochdale 29 8 44
11 Leyton Orient 29 9 43
12 Carlisle 30 7 42
13 Exeter 31 -6 42
14 Hartlepool 31 -14 41
15 Brentford 30 -4 39
16 Sheff Wed 30 2 37
17 Tranmere 30 -5 37
18 Notts County 27 35
19 Yeovil 30 -15 33
20 Swindon 32 -13 31

21 Walsall 32 -18 30
22 Bristol R 31 -28 30
23 Dag & Red 29 -12 29
24 Plymouth 32 -19 23

Albion 3 – 1 Portsmouth

January 9, 2011

My first Albion game of 2011, and the first time I’ve watched a ball kicked in anger since FC United on the 8th December. And what a game to come back to. As I expected to miss this game through work, I only managed to get a ticket on Friday – for the West Stand, where I could savour the ‘atmosphere’ at Withdean from half a mile away, like opposition fans have been enduring since 1999. To be fair when the ball is down in your half it ain’t half bad, but second half was difficult, the low angle of view didn’t help, and I missed Franny Sandaza’s ping-pong goal.

Pompey brought a big following and as we were rushing from the pub to find the route into the usual away end (the West -away- Stand was home fans only so Pompey could take up their 15% ticket allocation in our bigger Family Stand), I saw John Westwood – AKA the Pompey Bell(end) Ringer staggering about the East/South Stand concourse. He really needs to put the hat, clown shoes, and wisket in the wash – filthy it was.

Sadly for Westwood and his boys his team never turned up. Getting a player as good as Kitson sent off early didn’t help them, but I genuinely felt we would beat the Skates yesterday, and was touting “2-0″ as the final score in the pub beforehand. We battered them in the first half, and the amount of Pompey yellow cards handed out by, dare I say it, an Albion-friendly ref, was proof of their frustration at getting taken apart by a lower league side. Portsmouth seem to have a Premier League-sized collective ego, and hangover. You were shite, admit it.

Poyet started with three strikers (FLAIR!), and each had a fine game, Glenn Murray was the pick even though he was the only one of the trio who didn’t rattle the onion bag. I want to give Mauricio Taricco Man of the Match, as he not only stood in well for the suspended Calderon, but surpassed him in his brilliant 60 minute cameo. Treacle must’ve been some player in his younger days. Pompey were annoyed at being skinned by a 37 year old, and he got some rough treatment before he was subbed after tiring later on, but job done.

Adam El-Abd gets my nod, although any one of four of five players deserved the plaudits too. Bomber is fast becoming the cult hero here at Casa Hovian, another assured display with the rehabilitated Tommy Elphick at the back was the foundation that built the performance. After the game as we walked down the hill past the unhappy Pompey crowd returning to their coaches, a few started chopsing and giving it the big one (from behind a police line of course), that rounded off a perfect day back at the Theatre of Trees, one that I’ll remember fondly when I’m sat in my shiny new padded seat at Falmer next season.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 9 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Adam El-Abd

Attendance : 7792 (1421 Skates)

Albion 0 – 0 Woking

November 7, 2010

Woking: Surrey's answer to Worthing

I missed this game (work), but listened in on the wireless. How shit were we? Sounds like Woking were good for the draw and their travelling fans made all the noise in their cup final.

Ah well, I might make the effort to go up to theirs for the replay, I could be witnessing a famous FA Cup giant-killing (us “Giants”? get away).

Albion 1 – 0 Brentford

September 28, 2010

It’s an old football cliche that says if you want silverware in your trophy cabinet at the end of the season, then you have to win games even when you play badly. Well for 60 minutes tonight we were pretty gash, for sure. This game was headed for a draw – or worse – until, out of nothing, that man LuaLua saved Albion’s blushes.

Thing is, when you try to play nice one touch football, it only works when you pass to another player in your team. Time and again the tippy tappy stuff was going straight to Brentford players, and we were making a very ordinary team look half decent.

But, our patience paid off, and we should have won by three or four goals after the spell of pressure we put the away team under for the last half hour. LuaLua was ok until the final third, then his touch and shooting (up until he actually scored) was comical at times. Barnes harried well, laying it off nicely to the attacking midfield, but should have scored two again. Elphick had a few dodgy moments, he was carried by the man of the match (by more than a country mile) – Adam El-Abd. Bomber did the simple thing well all night, he was unflappable, and on this performance is the best defensive asset we have at the club right now. Good effort.

We are three points clear now, the expectation grows with each passing game. Great isn’t it?

The Hovian’s Team performance :  6 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match :  Adam El-Abd

Npower League One table

Tuesday, 28 September 2010 21:52 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Npower League One table
1 Brighton 9 7 20
2 Bournemouth 9 13 17
3 Carlisle 9 8 16
4 Rochdale 9 7 16
5 Peterborough 9 6 16
6 Colchester 9 4 15
7 Charlton 9 2 15
8 Huddersfield 9 2 14
9 Oldham 9 1 13
10 Notts County 9 -1 13
11 Exeter 9 -2 13
12 MK Dons 9 -2 13
13 Swindon 9 12
14 Plymouth 9 -3 12
15 Bristol R 9 -3 12
16 Sheff Wed 9 4 11
17 Southampton 9 -1 9
18 Tranmere 9 -6 9
19 Hartlepool 9 -8 9
20 Leyton Orient 9 -3 8
21 Yeovil 9 -8 8
22 Walsall 9 -4 7
23 Dag & Red 9 -7 7
24 Brentford 9 -6 6

Albion 2 – 1 Oldham

September 26, 2010

Top of the league. I’m nursing the kind of hangover that can only come from the words “Let’s celebrate” being spoken at full-time, it’s a 10 on the Richter Scale of sore heads. But it was worth it, and then some.

A sunny but chilly Withdean was the setting for, if not a great performance, a great result. Oldham came and made a game of it for the most part, but we dominated them later on, and took the win well, courtesy of his first goal in the stripes for Fran Sandaza. Scoring as we did with virtually the last kick in injury-time tells me this team is building up a head of steam, and Withdean is becoming the Fortress of the promotion seasons, winning is a hard habit to break. Ominous? It’s still too early to say, but we’re well on our way.

In the pub after everyone was buoyant, there’s a real buzz around the fanbase, they’re singing and dancing on the tables etc. As for my man of the match, it was a team performance where no-one really stuck out, but Ashley Barnes kept his head down after missing two sitters, and worked hard for his goal, so I’ll pin it on him. The Albion’s momentum should carry over to Tuesday night at home to Nicky Forster’s Brentford, then up to basement boys Tranmere on Saturday – where at this point I’m attending.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  7 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match :  Ashley Barnes

Attendance : 7148 (152 Oldham)

Npower League One table snapshot

As it stood on 25 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Brighton 8 6 17
2 Peterborough 8 7 16
3 Bournemouth 8 10 14
4 Huddersfield 8 5 14
5 Colchester 8 4 14
6 Rochdale 8 4 13
7 Carlisle 8 4 13
8 Exeter 8 1 13
9 MK Dons 8 -1 13
10 Oldham 8 1 12
11 Charlton 8 1 12
12 Swindon 8 1 12
13 Bristol R 8 -2 12
14 Sheff Wed 8 4 10
15 Notts County 8 -2 10
16 Hartlepool 8 -4 9
17 Plymouth 8 -4 9
18 Southampton 8 -1 8
19 Leyton Orient 8 -3 7
20 Yeovil 8 -8 7
21 Walsall 8 -4 6
22 Brentford 8 -5 6
23 Dag & Red 8 -7 6
24 Tranmere 8 -7 6

Albion 0 – 2 Leyton Orient

September 1, 2010

Tonights match sponsors

I only went along tonight because this Paint Pot nonsense was just £10 a ticket, and I was mildly intrigued to see Russell Slade, Dean Cox, and Alex Revell back in Brighton. Of course, like most people I’d guess, I fully expected Cox at least to score against us, and the little man didn’t disappoint.

We were poor tonight. We started well, but Cox’s wildly deflected goal was the undoing of us. Gus poyet put out more or less his strongest team, Liam Bridcutt debuted and was sloppy, giving the ball away endlessly. We finished the game at a canter, but were out of it even before they scored a second soft goal from a set piece. Murray missed another penalty, finally killing the game off.

Man of the match? Only Tommy Elphick didn’t embarrass himself out there, so he wins it. It was only the Johnstone’s Tin Pot, no great loss. Now the focus is very much on the league, but if we can’t beat a team like Orient with our best assets playing then our season won’t be as rewarding as I first thought. Time will tell.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  4 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match :  Tommy Elphick

Albion 2 – 1 Walsall

August 29, 2010

First home win, but it came from what was a tight nervy game until Ash Barnes broke his 2010-11 duck in the second half. Walsall came to spoil and harry, and edged the first half for me.

Murray and Barnes were superb yesterday up front, Murray should have scored a few, but crossing for Barnes’ goal was consolation of sorts. After that the Albion dominated, and even more so when a red card was shown at Withdean which wasn’t aimed at one of our players! Nice one. Marcos Painter scored an easy header to make it two and notch up his first competitive goal.

It was downhill all the way after that, although the ref felt guilty enough about sending their player off that he intercepted a pass between our back line and played Walsall through for a late consolation goal in injury time.

Best performances: Elphick was superb at the back. Barnes tried hard and deserved his goal, sheer effort making up for his poor touch and turkey-style running. Calderon was busy down the right wing. Murray gave a masterclass in leading the line, deserving a goal or two as well. But I’m giving man of the match to Painter, he really enjoyed himself and was running the Walsall right flank ragged.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  6 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match :  Marcos Painter

Npower League One table

Sunday, 29 August 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Npower League One table
1 Sheff Wed 4 8 10
2 Peterborough 4 4 9
3 Carlisle 4 5 8
4 Oldham 4 4 8
5 Bournemouth 4 6 7
6 Huddersfield 4 3 7
7 Brighton 4 1 7
8 Charlton 4 1 7
9 Colchester 4 1 6
10 Walsall 4 6
11 MK Dons 3 -1 6
12 Rochdale 4 1 5
13 Hartlepool 4 -3 5
14 Southampton 3 3 4
15 Leyton Orient 4 4
16 Yeovil 4 -2 4
17 Plymouth 4 -3 4
18 Notts County 4 -5 4
19 Bristol R 4 -6 4
20 Swindon 4 -2 2
21 Exeter 3 -3 2
22 Tranmere 4 -4 2
23 Dag & Red 3 -3 1
24 Brentford 4 -5 1

Albion 1 – 0 Aberdeen

August 1, 2010

Great little game this, played in front of a tiny crowd at Withers. What’s wrong with people? It was only a tenner a ticket for this one, I would have thought a bit of relief away from the summer shops and/or the wife and kids would have been more attractive, especially in this weather. Anyway.

I was sitting, probably for the last time ever, over in the North Stand. The tired old arena looks odd from this viewpoint, but ‘The Theatre of Trees’ was probably named by some wag North Stand regular, as the ground looks like it’s been cleared from some encroaching temperate jungle from here.

Mark McGhee got a more than affectionate welcome from both sides of Withdean when he appeared onto a pitch he knows so well, and the few hundred travelling Aberdeen fans sat in the East Stands appreciated the applause.

In our Portugal match against Portimonense we were given a bit of a lesson before the match was abandoned. Yesterday, just like against Sunderland over there, the team showed that when we play against typically British kick-and-rush exponents we look classy, continental even.

Aberdeen, a team with an impeccable (though distant) pedigree in Europe, looked very ordinary. The best gauge to measure how your team is doing is to watch the opposition fans in the stands. I was miles away from Blocks T and U, but I could still see a few jocks getting very shirty near the end of this game.

I don’t want to get carried away, but surely this team will perform in League One this year? The bookies fancy us to do well, if we keep relatively injury-free we should be thereabouts come May 2011.

The outstanding players yesterday were mostly in midfield. Bennett hit his trademark screamer, Sparrow and Navarro were neat and effective, especially Navs, who is a brilliant little campaigner. When our subs were made Gary Dicker was superb, giving Poyet headaches for selection this year. ‘Chino’ Baz is a player who gets the lovers of all things flair drooling at the mouth, his attempted overhead scissor kick was outrageous, pure class.

But it’s toss up between old man Kishishev and young urchin Jamie Smith for my man of the match. Kish is a wily old pro, if his legs hold up he will be making headlines regularly this season. Jamie Smith doesn’t look like a footballer - he’s an odd shape, has bouncy hair and is carrying a bit of puppy fat – but his close ball skills are as good as anybody’s and he gave Aberdeen all sorts of problems yesterday. So Smith just edges Kishishev for Man of the Match.

I’m annoyed that I’m missing the trip to Swindon next Saturday, as they will be a big test of this exciting new team. Relegation will not be an issue for the Albion this time around, nor do I think we will be headed for mid-table mediocrity, how far we do go is anybody’s guess, but I think we have the staff and playing style to go very far indeed.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  9 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match :  Jamie Smith

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold) :

(4-5-1)Poke (Walker 77); Calderon (Whing 77), Elphick, Greer, Painter; Navarro (Battipiedi 77), Kishishev (Dicker 69), Sparrow; Smith (Baz 77), Barnes (Murray 77), Bennett (Holroyd 77).

Attendance: 2812 (516 Aberdeen)

Return of the Mac

July 29, 2010

"Brighton? I'm bigger than you and higher up the food chain. Get in my belly"

Mark Magoo’s Aberdeen are coming down from the Granite City to play his old club at Withdean on Saturday. I’ve got a bit of time off work, and I see that there’s still plenty of seats available on the club ticket website. I’ll probably get a seat in the North Stand, as it’s likely to be the last chance I’ll ever get to sit in that quiet expanse of seating. To say a stand is ‘quiet’ compared to the rest of the noise vacuum that is the Theatre of Trees should give you some idea how somnambulant the old fellas over there really are.

Opinions are divided on Mark McGhee’s tenure in Sussex, I like(d) the guy, the teams he put out were always entertaining, his sacking was, for me, premature. But, it’s an ever-distancing memory now and I’m looking forward to seeing how his latest team do back in his old stomping ground.


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